New water meters in Philly will make it easier for customers to spot leaks

Pat Loeb
December 24, 2018 - 4:00 am
The Philadelphia Water Department is upgrading its meters for the first time in 20 years.

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Water Department is upgrading its meters for the first time in 20 years. Officials say the new ones will allow residents to see their water use in real time.

That means you'll be able to catch a leak before it makes your bill skyrocket. 

The water department started using smart meters in 1997. Instead of individually inspecting 480,000 residential meters, a truck  "reads" them just by driving down the street once a month. 

Still, Water Commissioner Debra McCarty says it was not optimal for customers.

"The challenge with once a month is, if you had a running toilet that you didn't know about, your bill could be pretty high and you have no idea of knowing it until you get your water bill," McCarty said. 

Readings from the new meters will be available every 96 hours. 

"You might show consumption at two in the morning and you know you weren't up and nobody else was, so that's a leak somewhere," she said.

McCarty says the meters will be installed over the next two years. 

The $90 million contract with the company Sensus includes managing the system for the next 20 years.